Blog » Keeping Our Promises to Working Men and Women
authored by John Courage on 09/04/06 8:04 am
Today, Labor Day 2006, American working families are struggling because the Bush White House and the most corrupt Congress in history have failed to keep their promises to the American people. They have broken their "Contract with America," and the basic promises of the American dream, the values we all share, are not being honored: honesty and integrity in our government, economic prosperity, a health care system that works for everyone, fiscal responsibility, and a strong public education system. I am totally committed to taking the bold steps necessary so that Texas working families can live the dream and see the promises fulfilled that are the heart of our democracy. Together we can stand for honesty, hard work, respect, and opportunity for all Americans. Together, working families in Texas can do better.
These are the promises we need to keep:
The promise of American jobs staying in America. More than 170,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in Texas, with 575,000 looking for work. Family income has dropped by $1,024 since 2000. But Republican members of Congress, like my opponent Lamar Smith, have missed every opportunity to jump-start our economy, instead insisting that our economy has turned the corner. As a union member, I understand what needs to be done. I will fight to promote prosperity by creating new jobs, protecting our workers' rights to organize and collective bargaining, rewarding companies that create jobs here at home, and enacting middle-class tax relief.
The promise to lower energy costs and our dependence on foreign oil. Gas prices have increased by 23% in Texas since 2004, affecting man people's ability to travel to and from work. The Republican leadership in Congress has failed to address high energy costs, passing an energy bill with billions of dollars in subsidies for big oil, gas, and energy companies. I will fight to lower energy costs and decrease our dependence on foreign oil and keep Texans working.
The promise of a health care system that works for everyone. There are 5,550,000 people without health insurance in Texas, an 835,000 increase since 2000. During that time, the cost of health insurance has increased by $994 - a 56 percent increase. Many Texas working families are without health insurance because of the rising costs and the inability of many small businesses to afford to provide insurance for their workers. But Republican Congressmembers, including Lamar Smith, have refused to take action to lower health care costs. I will work for a health care system that works for everyone by lowering the cost of health care and eliminating tax loopholes so everyone pays their fair share.
The promise of a quality public education. Because Republicans have failed to provide promised funding for education reforms, 275,000 children in Texas have gone without help in reading and math and over 160,000 have gone without after-school programs that boost academic achievement and keep kids safe. If we want American jobs to stay in America, we have to have more American children succeeding in sciences, math, and literacy, while at the same time ending the tyranny of the No Child Left Behind law that punishes school districts and schools and ties teachers' hands. As a teacher I understand the importance of providing opportunities through high-quality early childhood education, strong public schools, and affordable college education; these are the paths to success for all of us.
The promise to protect our retirement security. Social Security provides financial security and peace of mind to 2,730,970 people in Texas. President Bush and Republicans in Congress tried to undermine the guarantee of Social Security for people in Texas, but I and many others have stood up to protect Social Security for everyone. I will continue to fight to make Social Security solvent, to stop the Republicans from robbing the Social Security surplus to fund the tax breaks they have given to the wealthy and to the big corporations. And I will fight to protect the defined benefit retirement programs that employees have worked for, bargained for, and earned.
We must fulfill our promises. I will work with the many unions and labor associations that have endorsed me and for the millions of Americans who are working to make our nation great. This campaign is about the teachers of America, and I am proud to be supported by the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. It is a campaign about all the men and women who work tirelessly in every industry, and I am proud to be endorsed by the IBEW, CWA, ALPA, UBCJ, and many more unions. We will work together and ensure that our promises are kept to America's working families